Since my last blog unfairly impugned the integrity of our beloved mouse, I thought its best capabilities should get equal time.
In today’s computing environment, the mouse has become a critical part of the user experience. From text selection to intricate graphics design, it has simplified and demystified some of the most complex user interactions with a computer. Imagine having to create an image using only your keyboard. It’s possible (just ask those early CAD designers) but it would be a painfully byzantine experience. I’m sufficiently experienced (read, really REALLY old) to remember drafting documents in the earliest versions of Word Perfect (still my all-time favorite word processing program…I miss reveal codes). Compare that experience with the ease of navigating documents today using the mouse, and you quickly realize the revolution wrought by Apple (actually Xerox invented the technology).
So, what can the mouse do for you? You already know it can select things, that the buttons can be used to cut, copy and paste. It can move icons and windows around the screen. But, did you know that if you select a window with a mouse and drag it to one edge of the screen, it will automatically size that window to exactly ½ the screen? Or, that if you drag the window to the top of the screen, it will switch the window to full screen? Here’s a cool one. If you shake the window vigorously from left to right and back, it will minimize all the other windows on the screen.
You should also research the capabilities of your specific mouse. By way of example, if the scroll wheel has a tilt feature, it becomes a way of horizontally navigating a document or window. By going to the settings and devices screen in Windows, you can reassign mouse buttons (great for lefties), change the scroll and click speeds, and even change the pointer appearance. Some of the most sophisticated mice (such as those used for gaming) have numerous assignable buttons that can perform virtually any Windows based task from launching a program to switching between multiple windows. Simply launch the control panel on your computer and select Mouse. From their the options will be based upon the type of pointing device you are using.
Finally, remember that there is a mouse to fit every hand. There are also devices that perform similar functions such as touch-pads, tablet styluses (Google Waacom), roller balls (basically, a mouse flipped upside down), even the touch screen itself.
Allen Friedman is the owner and CEO of Techaerus LLC, an office efficiency consulting firm. He is also a licensed attorney. Allen founded and managed one of the largest consumer collections law firms in the country and managed over 50 attorneys as well as hundreds of non-attorney staff. Prior to founding that firm, he opened and managed the New York and Michigan operations for the largest consumer collections firm in the United States. Throughout his career, Allen has always placed great emphasis on ensuring that investments in office technology provide the greatest possible returns. In order to achieve these returns, he focuses on three pillars of office management; asset management, training, and automation. His expertise includes document/image management, software and hardware integration, training, and process management and automation. Allen lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife Amy, his children Cassidy and Gideon, and two adorable dogs named Roxie (a labradoodle) and Bentley (an Old English Sheepdog).